72: Giving Kids Their Own Rooms

Question: I had a question about siblings sharing a room. Is there a time, if at all that you think would be an appropriate time for my girls to have their own rooms? I have a ten-and-a-half-year-old and an eight-year-old. Just a few times my ten-year-old has expressed wanting her own room and we are trying to plan ahead for the future where she will be going through a lot of changes and I just wanted to get your thoughts. Thanks a lot.

Response: We would have kids of the same sex share rooms.

It is good for kids to share. It’s healthy for them to build strong relationships where they learn to enjoy being around each other. They don’t need to have their own space to decorate and retreat to. It is more valuable that they learn to yield to their own desires and learn how to deal with their siblings, their siblings’ stuff, and their siblings’ friends.

Getting your own room is not necessarily part of growing up. I’ve shared a room with someone for most of my life, and almost all of my adult life.

As kids enter their teen years they often become very private and secretive. Many teens would like nothing better than to shut their parents out of their life, sit in their room, and use chat rooms and cell phones to talk to their friends. We’d like to head them off at the pass, and keep them from ever going down that path.

If she just wants privacy when she changes clothes, she could certainly change in the bathroom, or politely ask her sister to let her have the room for a minute while she changes.

Obviously, this is not the most crucial thing in parenting. If you only have one child of a particular sex, then by all means, give them their own room. A baby that cries a lot may need her own nursery. It can be fine and appropriate for kids to have their own rooms. However, in our situation, we have some of each and we’d prefer to have them work through the difficulties of living with someone rather than for them to have their own space.

In addition to all that, we are about ready to have our seventh, and if we give each of them their own room we might as well buy an apartment building. :-)


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